Cities and CoastsPostcards from the Great Lakes brilliantly explores love—the beauty of it, the difficulties we face, the concern of a new love being foreshadowed by past relationships, heartbreak—while asserting an iconic pop sound all its own, laced with lush harmonies and beachy guitars that hearken easily to those of The Beach Boys. It’s near impossible to believe that such an album came from the Midwest, much less a city with such temperamental weather as Cleveland, Ohio, but it has.

The nine-track record paints a clear portrait of what the Rock and Roll Capital of the World looks like. “Prelude” opens the album with a delicate tinkering of toy piano that greets your ears like the sun’s rays dancing across Lake Erie, a guitar layer builds as Nathan Hedges’ voice comes forth and the percussive guitar line grows to seamlessly meet the drumming on title track “Postcards from the Great Lakes.”

“This New Love” explores intimacy and openness, while keeping the tempo upbeat and hopeful. “Summer is Over” is the perfect song for the chilled weather of a Cleveland winter, the guitar’s staccato notes easily mimic a light snow, as Hedges’ voice grips at a lost love who “goes on chasin’ the sun” to the West Coast, but he wishes her well with “I hope you find someone to take my place.”

“What I Want” will be in your head for days—and you’ll love that. “Don’t Scratch the Vinyl” displays a great cascading guitar line and a funkier beat than the rest of the album. This album is a must-grab for any collector looking for an album that restores hope that pop music didn’t die with Michael Jackson. It’s alive and kickin’ in Cleveland.

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